Talibon has shown local governments can lead the way in bringing back victims of illegal drugs

the-agora1

When the Philippine National Police reported in the meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) last July that more than 30,000 drug users and more than 17,000 pushers have surrendered in Bohol alone, I asked what was going to be one with them. Surely the program could not succeed by just their surrender. Something must be done by government to bring them back to normal life without drugs. Succeeding events proved this right when among those caught or killed in subsequent actions of the police were those who have surrendered, showing that without a subsequent program like rehabilitation, they will just go back to their addiction.

I am glad that the municipal local government of Talibon did a real quick thinking an came up with a concrete program to pursue. Let u hope that other municipalities will follow suit as this can only succeed with the concerted efforts especially by the municipal local governments. The plan of the national government of establishing rehabilitation centers can take years to finally operationalize. Even that of the province can take time so much so that before we can finally see those addicted to illegal drugs being treated in these facility, scores, may be hundreds may have died already from the police punitive actions.

Engr. Ednardo Avenido, a licensed environmental planner and currently the municipal planning and development coordinator of Talibon informed me last Thursday that Mayor Restituto Auxtero of that progressive town of Talibon has already created as early as August 3, 2016 a technical working group that “formulated plans and programs for drug offenders who surrendered in the municipality of Talibon, Bohol.”

Mayor Auxtero was encouraged by the expression of full support by the clergy of Talibon to any program and project for illegal drug offenders especially on the field of spiritual uplift, moral recovery, guidance and counselling. The mayor was appalled by the swelling number of drug offenders in Talibon who have surrendered which reflected the extent of illegal drug proliferation in Talibon. Without a concrete program to save them from the social menace, “there is a high degree of probability that these drug offenders will return to their old vicious trade,” he said in his Executive Order.

The Technical Working has these functions: identify appropriate government interventions to bring drug offenders back to the mainstream society; maintain a database for profiling of drug offenders; plan for the rehabilitation and treatment of drug offenders; extend full support to the DILG, the head agency in the illegal drug campaign.

Already, the Technical Working Groups has come up with a program it dubbed as DRUG REHAB WITHOUT WALLS which has been approved for implementation beginning October 1, 2016. It is a comprehensive program that will save the victims of illegal drugs without being confined in prison, without the use of medicines but will give utmost care for the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of the drug victims/surrenderers. This will be given at no cost to the beneficiary as this is being done out of genuine love.

The program believes that the surrenderers as victims who will remain human beings and children of God and need to be saved not killed. It is important that the surrenderers will accept that by themselves they cannot be changed or reformed that is why they will submit themselves to rehabilitation.

The program will cater to two groups – the jobless, and the students or those who are working. It is divided into two parts the first to last for three months of values and spiritual formation for 12 Saturdays from 8:30 to 11:00 in the morning, individual counselling for 12 sessions to be conducted on Saturdays or Sundays, attend masses or religious activities for three (3) months, join sports program from 8-11:00 in the morning every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for three months, and render community service for at least 10 hours every week for three (3) months, plant and grow not les than 50 trees within three months in areas to be designated by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) or in their own lands, submit to random drug test to prove that they have actually stop using illegal drugs, and compel any member of their family to attend a weekend seminar where they will be oriented on their role in the rehabilitation of their drug dependent family member.

The Technical Working Groups is composed of the Chief of Police, PSI Normn Nuez, as Chairman, Mayor Auxtero as Co-Chairman, Vice Mayor Cleto Garcia as Vice Chairman, Rev. Msgr. Alberto Uy, administrator of the Most Holy Trinity Cathedral Parish leading the members that include three more priests, DepEd Schools Supervisors, RTC an MCTC Judges, th MPDC, and the municipal officers of DSWD, DOH, DILG, DENR, Agriculture, Budget and Treasury, representative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Talibon. They meet regularly every month or as often as necessary.

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